Monday, June 15, 2009

Discipline Re:Defined

dis⋅ci⋅pline  /ˈdɪsəplɪn/ [dis-uh-plin] noun, verb, -plined,


1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill;
training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of
5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order
maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.
6. a set or system of rules and regulations.
7. Ecclesiastical. the system of government
regulating the practice of a church as distinguished from its doctrine.
8. an instrument of punishment, esp. a whip or scourge, used in the practice of
self-mortification or as an instrument of chastisement in certain religious
9. a branch of instruction or learning: the disciplines of history and economics.

–verb (used with object)

10. to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
11. to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
12. to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.

It is very interesting to me that the very mention of discipline is associated, as is this dictionary definition, with references to harsh punishment, military training, strict rules and regulations. For me discipline is simply focus. Being unfocused means a lack of clarity about your goals and what you want to attract into your life and with that lack of focus those things you want fade away into the horizon. Whereas, if you are disciplined about the thoughts you have; the choices you have minute by minute, you will get closer to your goals and what you focus on will come closer.

Does this mean punishment is inherent? No. Does it mean dealing with opportunity costs where you give up one thing to get another. Yes. Does it mean torture? No.

CRONies need to reclaim and redefine the term discipline. What does discipline mean to me:

It means improving the ways and skill with which I come closer to my goals. It means focus. It does not mean all or nothing ultimatums where I am always disciplined or else my goals disappear. It does mean correcting my behaviour to getting myself back on track.

In biblical Hebrew, the generic word for sin is het. It means to err, to miss the mark. In this way we are all sinners as we have all missed the mark at some point in time. The original meaning of the word sin does not imply praise or blame. It simply means that the mark was missed. The word sin has even been used in archery for centuries.

Discipline is simply the training of your self to better hit your mark and achieve your goals. This training is not inherently negative, brutal, or punishing. It simply refocuses and redirects you.

We all know that there is both positive and negative reinforcement. Yet, people seem to focus on the negative when they hear the word discipline.

So CRONies, others, help me in redefining this word for ourselves and others. The world will be a much better place as a result. And I personally feel that it will help more people achieve their goals through being more compassionate with those that miss the mark, including themselves. Discipline should be without praise and blame and completely about focussing on the target.

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